Leader Spotlight: Larry Walker

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Larry Walker. A volunteer involved with various activities and committees through the Kitsap and Tacoma Branch.
Michelle Song Michelle Song
Associate Volunteer Development Manager
September 29, 2021

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Larry Walker, a volunteer leader who discovered alpine hiking later in life. He serves in the Safety, Kitsap Branch's Alpine Scrambling and Climbing Program, and Tacoma Branch's Hiking & Backpacking Committees. 

Name: Larry Walker
Branch: Kitsap
How long have you been a leader? 4 (member since 2016)
What activities do you lead? Alpine Climbing, Scrambling, Hiking, Stewardship, Navigation, and Mountaineering Oriented First Aid (MOFA)

Leadership Questions

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO volunteer WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

 A lot of good people came before me and helped me to grow, and I feel that it is incumbent upon me to honor their work and pay it forward.

WHAT IS THE BEST, FAVORITE, OR MOST MEMORABLE experience YOU'VE HAD WITH THE CLUB?

 I honestly cannot come up with an individual "memorable moment." It is more the acceptance and support that I have felt and seen all around.

How has your leadership style evolved as you've gained experience?

As I have moved through the experience my confidence to follow and lead has increased. As a result, I am much more open to allowing the team more say in planning and executing expeditions.

What is one thing you do on trips to create an inclusive experience for people of all skills and backgrounds?

Everyone on the team is included in all of the pre-trip planning so that each is on the same page. Also, if there are any more technical aspects of the trip that require extra scrutiny each member of the team is given the information and how my thoughts are as we move forward. This allows the members to feel like their input and thoughts are valued.

IT'S OFTEN SAID: "GOOD JUDGEMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE; EXPERIENCE COMES FROM BAD JUDGEMENT." Can you describe a learning experience TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY BUILD THEIR GOOD JUDGEMENT?

 Other than a couple of times when training trips were pursued in the face of challenging weather conditions, I cannot bring up anything to mind.

What advice do you have for aspiring leaders in The Mountaineers community?

Trust yourself to step up and help lead classes, field trips, and regular trips. Nobody is going to get it perfect on the first try, but you can learn from the more senior leadership. Also, never be afraid to ask why something is being done the way it is being done. You can learn, and possibly help more senior personnel learn new ideas.

What do you wish other members knew about volunteering with The Mountaineers?

There is nothing like the satisfaction of volunteering, especially when the other members express their appreciation. Also, volunteering helps a person sharpen their skills while letting others discover new skills.

What is one surprising thing you've learned or gained through volunteering with The Mountaineers?

I was amazed to see the amount of preparation and planning that goes into a seemingly mundane trip.

Is there aNYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU?

I am a late bloomer. I didn't even get into alpine hiking until I was 61 or climbing until 62. Old dogs sometimes like new tricks.

Lightning Round

What's your go-to place for a post-trip meal? Coffee and ice cream at Hoodsport Coffee Co.
How about your best trail snack? If they ever outlaw Cliff Bars I will be a felon.
What's your favorite close-to-home adventure? Schlepping around in Green Mountain State Forest.
What "luxury item" do you bring on most trips? A solar charger for my phone.
What's next on your bucket list? Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams.

is there Someone that you'd like to see in the spotlight?

We are always seeking nominations for an impactful leader of our community to spotlight! Send an email to Michelle Song to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!


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Tina Fox
Tina Fox says:
Oct 01, 2021 08:09 PM

Nice to see you spotlit, Larry, although your light is pretty bright! Thank you so much for the, oh, so many times you have helped me out, volunteered with trips, and stepped up to take the lead.